As of late…

Things have been a bit busy, crazy, hectic, ridiculous…

I have been home for only 22 days since the 10th of April…and I’ve taken 7 different trips…most for work, 1 to Salt Lake to see Liam and Rory’s new restaurant, and 1 to Savannah, GA for a wedding.  It has been hectic, but also very good.  I’m really loving my job, teaching Wilderness Medicine Courses.  The locations have been fun, the people I work with have been great and the work is constantly challenging and the students are inspiring!  My travel is not done yet…in fact, tomorrow I’m headed for the Bay area to teach a re-certification course, and then lead a backpacking trip for Big City Mountaineers in Yosemite!

Here are some moments from the last couple months!

I worked a 10 day course in San Francisco.

It’s hard to complain when this is what your office looks like!

While I’m gone, Woody texts me photos of our ridiculous dog! (Who sleeps like this!?!)

I had an extra day and drove around exploring…Golden Gate Park, Sutro Baths, China Beach, and Ocean Beach!

I had some beautiful weather!

Cleo found a peacock in our neighbor’s yard.

I taught two courses in Portland…

Some rain, some sun, very pretty!

Super fun to see Avery & Eloise and spend some time with Ciaran and Kate!  Looking forward to my next course in the area!

Judy and Laura came for a visit…we packed in quite a bit into two days!  LACMA!

Woody’s favorite piece of art…

We took a quick weekend trip to Salt Lake City to see for ourselves, Liam, Rory and Andrew’s new venture, Avenues Proper.  I am so proud of my brothers!  From an inkling of an idea a ways back…to an open and functioning restaurant and brewery – amazing!

Looking forward to my next trip!

We managed to make it up to Heber to see the horses!

And of course, we watched as much Game of Thrones as we possibly could and played a lot of Excite Truck – a special request of Liam!

Neither of us had seen Utah’s new Museum of Natural History.

Call me impressed!

The views are gorgeous!

A trip to Salt Lake would not be complete without a stop here…

and of course the Mole Sampler!

Back to southern California…and I headed to Lake Cachuma to teach a weekend course.  It’s halfway between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos!

I squeezed in a pre-birthday dinner with this lady!  Love her…and love me some chicken and waffles (Liam – your version is better!).

Next, we were off to Savannah, GA for the wedding of our friends Jon & Sara.

Saw some thunderhead’s building up over the middle of the country.

Explored the moss-covered trees and parks in the historic district!

Spotted a mode of transportation that NEEDS to be in my future.  I’ll be driving the scooter and Woody will ride shotgun!

Lots of fun catching up with friends from Harvard!

And ogling the crazy super-yachts and sailboats docked on the river!

These two are so cute and so in love…and they share the same birthday…Valentine’s Day.  I think I just threw up in my mouth.  Just kidding…I love ’em!

The ceremony was perfect and the basil gimlets were delightful!

On our flight home, Woody sat across the aisle from Ernie Hudson – one of the original Ghostbusters!  This is my stealthy photo!

Flying back from Savannah was the start of too much time in airports…which included Savannah, Houston, LAX, Burbank, SFO and Chico…all within 24 hours.  SFO is where I spent 13 unplanned hours…after multiple flight delays and a cancelation…I finally arrived at my hotel in Chico at 3:15 am.

Don’t worry I managed to get almost 3 hours of sleep before I was up again and getting ready to teach 30 students for 10 days straight!

My co-instructor and I made a point to go on the Brewery tour at Sierra Nevada.

They have an impressive facility, which they’ve built over the years!

They have (one of?) the largest privately owned solar arrays in the country…and plenty of sun!

The tour ended with a tasting, many of the beers I had not tried before!

Then there was more teaching.  We employ very creative teaching techniques…here, my co-instructor Liam is acting out a patient with cardiac issues as I run through a patient assessment!

Also…it was hot!  (did I mention this?)  It was REALLY hot!

Also, really beautiful!

I arrived home…for 5 hours…and found some presents waiting for me!!!

Love the clutch!  Thanks Giselle!

And then I opened the clutch to find this…

“For those of you wondering where my beard went: fret not it is still around, just not on my face. Liz has it.”

-Mark Fischer via Facebook

Home for a couple hours…and then I was off to drive north of Malibu, where I taught a weekend WFA course at a camp near Leo Carillo State Beach.  I was making a phone call and turned around to see this little guy.  Actually, he wasn’t so little!

More teaching!

I got back Sunday…cumpled into bed exhausted and spent Monday putting my life back together as my time at home is short once again.  Monday night we put my latest birthday present from Woody, a baking steel (kind of like a pizza stone but made of pure steel) to the test and had two delicious pizzas!

Tuesday was a blur…and this morning, WOody and I were up before 5 am to get him to the airport with his Watermaster raft and all his fishing gear for a week of fishing near the Henry’s fork of the Snake river.

I returned home after a stop for some coffee and took Cleo for her morning walk.

June Gloom has set in full force…but who can complain when your trees shower the sidewalks with purple flowers!

Back on the road tomorrow…home at the end of June with hopefully some more photos and an adventure or two to share!

Happy Summer!

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So it’s 2013…

Turns out (shocking, I know) I took a lot of photos during 2012…perhaps too many.  Some made it up here, but at least 80% did not.  I found a neat little app (memovy) that will time-lapse photos from your phone and add a little music to it as well.

(also, I mistakenly titled it 2013…when it should really say 2012…but I can’t change it now…so deal)

Here’s a quick recap of 2012…

We traveled to…

  • Monterey, CA
  • Colorado
  • Utah
  • Portland
  • South Africa
  • San Francisco
  • Mammoth
  • Jackson, WY
  • Yellowstone
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Sonoma
  • DC
  • Santa Barbara
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Georgia
  • Lander, WY
  • and probably a few other places I’ve forgotten.

We…

  • Attended two college graduations
  • Threw a joint 60th birthday party
  • Celebrated from afar another 60th birthday
  • Went wine tasting (three times)
  • Went on at least 2 fishing trips
  • Quit a job
  • Then got a job with NOLS (bucket list)
  • Cooked a lot of good food
  • Completed a Triathlon
  • Lost 10 pounds
  • Had papers published
  • Breathed new life into our 12-year-old Subaru (According to our checkbook, it should last another 12 years now)
  • Reconnected with a friend from high school
  • Reconnected with at least 5 friends from college
  • Watched our nieces and nephew grow up (way too fast)
  • Visited family
  • Had family visit us
  • Drove MANY miles
  • Worked hard
  • Threw a Christmas party
  • Had friends visit us
  • and I’m sure there is more…

Here’s to an even better 2013 filled with more adventures, road trips, friends and family!

If only time would slow down…

I’d have enough of it to update this little blog more often.  Sometimes, I get hung up on trying to recap everything that I’ve been doing…and when there is not enough time to do that…I just ignore it altogether.  So…here’s what’s been going on around here…

We did some fishing in and around Mammoth Lakes…

and when someone else is doing the majority of the ‘catching’…a cold one tastes mighty fine…

Cleo joined us on the trip and got in on the action with some swimming for birds!

Can’t get enough of the Sierras!

More on that trip in a future post…

Next up…Monterey, CA!

Thanks to Woody’s intellectual prowess…we get the bonus of a trip to Monterey in September for the next four years thanks to a Packard Fellowship for the annual meeting.  He has business to attend to during this meeting…but I just enjoyed the trip…especially the part about before-hours access to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Not a bad view from the hotel…

Woody gave his talk on the first morning, which worked out well and he could relax a bit after that.

Plenty of otters in the bay…I spent hours watching and photographing.  It was actually hard to look out at the ocean and not see at least one!

The weekend is busy with talks given by the fellows but there was also plenty of time to socialize and get to know the attendees.  We were lucky to have a good friend/colleague of ours from another University to hang out with at the lunches and dinners!

Seals, sea lions, cormorants, herons, kayakers…

We were treated to a fog free weekend – just beautiful!

Look closely…that is an entire raft of otters…pretty much a party out there in the kelp beds!

Sunrise over the bay

Just to top it off…we shared a flight back to LAX with a certain famous person.  Many would know him as McDreamy…and although Woody now thinks I’m a stalker for knowing who he is and being a bit starstruck…it was a quick reminder that celebrities are real people (at least some of them) who fly commercial airlines.  Even better than the sighting, was the very tipsy woman across the aisle on the plane who drunk-whispered (as in I’m sure the whole plane heard her) “Is that guy up there famous or something…?”  He looks so familiar…what’s his name…I could be seeing things…I’ve had a little too much sun today and a…lot…of…wine…”  Priceless!

Alright this post has gotten a bit longer than intended…so…here’s part one.  Part two including a recap of our Teton trip and some other recent adventures/mishaps coming soon!

Let’s talk SUMMER!

Summer is about to officially end…and I’ve got a lot to catch you up on.  It’s been a busy summer with lots of travel and adventures.  Let’s start in mid-May…

We visited Colorado to see Sarah graduate from CC!

typical Colorado spring weather – chilly and rainy

bbq and beer to celebrate while watching the sun be eclipsed

Then, back to California…

for Wynne’s graduation from Redlands…

she’s the one in the middle looking very scholarly

with a bonus visit of Ciaran, Kate, Avery and Eloise for day or so…

Avery really likes writing out her letters…and rolling around in chalk!

any rectangles drawn must be completely filled in!

and this one…she kills me!

and we can’t forget about Cleo…she celebrated her 5th birthday in May…

I celebrated a friend’s birthday with some beach time with bonfires!

Most of June was consumed by secret planning for this…

the dual celebration of both my parents turning 60 this year…

lots of good times…with dogs in the pool…

and planning this…

what is formally known as one of the better Connelly Family Birthday traditions…a pie fight!

complete with chocolate pudding and whip cream!

There were many walks with Cleo…the best ones involve squirrel-stalking!

Mid-July found both Woody and I traveling for work.  He first went to Stanford for some instrument time…and I embarked on a road trip with the final destination of Denver to work a course for Big City Mountaineers.

I left Pasadena and headed through Las Vegas to Springfield, Utah…just outside of Zion.

The heat was outrageous in Vegas…and massive desert thunderstorms broke out just as I left the interstate!  I truly miss summer storms.  

(Oddly, as I sit here right this moment, Pasadena is experiencing a rare bout of thunder and rain…and I could not be more pleased!)

It had been at least 10 years…and maybe even closer to 15 years since I had been through Zion…you can truly forget how beautiful and stunning the landscape can be.

The next day had me driving to Salt Lake/Park CIty.  I stayed with some of my favorite peeps…Carrie and Andre.  I seemed to bring the weather along with me wherever I traveled as well.  Hot and stuffy when I arrived and by 9 pm, it was blustery, chilly and the power was out!

From Park City, I drove towards Glenwood Springs to catch up with a friend from high school whom I haven’t seen since her wedding!

a little swimming in the hot springs and lots of catching up over beers and dinner and hanging out with her cute little family!

One last day of driving towards Denver, with only 2 cd’s left to go on my book on tape, 30 minutes into the drive…

this happened…

Apparently the little Subie just could not go any further…called AAA and waited…and poured water in the radiator every so often as it became clear very quickly that things were HOT!

Pop quiz:  Anyone know how far AAA will tow for free…?  I do!  1oo miles – above and beyond is an additional charge.  Question #2 – how far from Denver did my car break down?  132 miles!

Okay, I can’t resist…question #3 – how long did it take to drive (the tow truck driver…not me) those 132 miles…?  More than 6 hours!  That is an average speed of 22 miles per hour…and 3.5 more hours than I intended to spend in the company of my tow truck driver.  Can’t say I didn’t learn a thing or two…mainly about cougar hunting, the history of the Vail area and of course…how the ‘illegals are stealing all the jobs’ and that this president we have is ‘doing nothing more than ruining our country.’

Character building…that’s how I made myself feel better about the whole situation.

I made it to Denver, dropped the car at a shop and was generously picked up by a friend for some dinner and carting all my shtuff to the house where I was staying.  Monday brought with it prepping for the trip I was leading and making very expensive decisions about what to do with the car.  Turns out the engine was ‘done’ and needed to be completely rebuilt…and since we’re in there…why not replace the clutch too.

Tuesday…course begins.  Backpacking with 4 girls and 2 adult volunteers for 7 days in the Medicine Bow Wilderness in Wyoming.

The trip was great…girls were amazing and a lot of fun.  Three were Nepali and one from Rwanda – lots of cultural differences to discuss and learn about and the scenery could not have been better.  I have definitely bookmarked the area in my brain for a future personal trip.

And then…because I needed yet another thing to pop up and get in my way…

I found myself in a doctor’s office hoping for an explanation as to why a good portion of my feet were numb and tingly (and had been since the day 2 of the course).  This was particularly important as I was scheduled to lead a second trip for BCM 5 days later.  The answer was not what I hoped to hear – 1) they don’t know exactly why my feet were numb and tingly; 2) strongly recommended against leading another backpacking trip; and 3) gave me the diagnosis of ‘digital nerve damage with cause unknown’.  Great.  Just garreat.

So, now the car is fixed, but my feet are broken.  Thanks to another instructor coming through at the very last-minute, I was off the hook and the trip headed out into the field right on schedule.

I now found myself with some time on my hands in Denver…so my Mom hopped a plane and joined me for a surprise girls weekend full of Olympic watching, relaxation, dinners out, afternoon tea, a little shopping and a seeing my first live musical – Jersey Boys.

The afternoon thunderstorms continued and I could not get enough of them!

Since I was not working the course…it was now time to drive back towards Pasadena.  I left Golden and headed for the open road!

I drove some roads I never had before, starting with US-285 from Denver to Fairplay to Buena Vista…

 Through Salida and then west towards Gunnison…

And finally to Montrose where I stopped for the night…

In the a.m., I headed due south towards Durango driving through Ouray.

Can we discuss how great road trips are?  I mean, really.  The scenery continually shifting, with tunes of your choice (or a good book or two on tape)…what is not to like!

I just kept reaching for the camera…I couldn’t help myself!

I passed through Mancos and Cortez and headed southwest through the Navajo Nation towards Flagstaff.

Passing right through the Four Corners.

This is pretty much how I roll…

Leaving the red dirt of the desert behind and heading up to 7000 feet and the Ponderosa forests of Flagstaff.

It was too early to stop when I hit Flagstaff…so I drove on to explore a new town…Prescott.  I found an amazing little place to stay…grabbed a bite to eat and watched some more olympics.

The next morning marked my last day on the road.  It was hardly more than a 6 hour drive back to Pasadena…and Woody was returning from his field work in South Africa that same morning.

Yet another road I had not yet driven…and incredibly beautiful.  Note that there is only one lane on the road…the east-bound traffic was 700 feet below.

It was my first time driving through Palm Springs…and perhaps not the best time of year/day for a positive impression – it was scorchingly hot, and apparently it’s a time of year when many businesses shut down for two or three weeks…like the shoulder seasons in a ski town.  Not much else to say.

And then, rather anti-climactically…I arrived home to Pasadena!  It was REALLY nice to be home and to see Woody and Cleo…and unpack…and cook in our own kitchen.

We belated celebrated our 6 year anniversary with a night out at The Bazaar by José Andrés…and this is definitely the prettiest gin and tonic I’ve ever had!

The experience was amazing and we hardly grazed the surface of the expansive menu which includes both traditional and modern (read: molecular gastronomic) tapas.

Green olives…real on the bottom and liquid olive spheres on top!

Tortilla Espagnola…re-thunk!

And the most interesting philly cheesesteak I’ve ever eaten…hollow inside with a cheese creamy foam piped inside with wagyu beef and chives.  The meal included many more dishes…too many to share and the iPhone photos don’t do the tapas justice.  A memorable anniversary for sure!

Then…we landed on Mars!

Well, not actually “we” as in Woody and myself…but “we” as in humanity…or at least a roving remote-controlled science lab landed on Mars.  This was an opportunity for tailgating at Caltech…where the very idea of such is foreign.  There were of course more official and formal celebrations being held on campus…none of which we were invited to (read: allowed into).  So, some creative ambitious grad students got to setting up a projector with a laptop and a set of speakers on the side of one of the buildings…lawn chairs were set-up, and beer and twizzlers were passed around while watching the live feed from the NASA website of mission control at JPL.

Colleagues of Woody’s have been instrumental in the MSL project and we spotted a few familiar faces on the screen throughout the broadcast.

That’s John Grotzinger on the right – Project Scientist for Mars Science Lab – and a good friend of ours!

Mark had some work in Anaheim…so he squeezed in a visit.

Always fun to have him in town, if even for a short time.

The next weekend we headed for a morning hike in Griffith Park as part of our attempt to be tourists in our own city…so many things still to do!

Whew!  I think that most brings us up to date…at least through mid-August.  We returned on Tuesday from a long weekend in the eastern Sierras…so hopefully I can get some of those pictures up soon.  I am truly in disbelief that tomorrow is SEPTEMBER!

Can I get a “YIKES!”?

This past weekend, we…

…drank coffee

I watched some soccer…

…enjoyed late breakfast/early lunch with this girl at this place.  (delicious huevos!)

…made some progress cleaning up this disaster…

 {I can’t believe I just shared a pic of ‘the room’…although I’m comforted by the fact that I think everyone has one of these…the room/closet/corner/garage where stuff gets stashed away…hidden…never to be spoken of again…hoping that little elves will magically appear and clean/tidy/sort/rearrange it for you!}

Moving on…

I organized my fabrics using these (having seen the idea over here and here)…

We ate pasta carbonara for dinner…

 Dinner was followed by planning for Sunday and watching True Grit…which we enjoyed, but it was certainly not our favorite Cohen brothers movie…and ended a bit abruptly for my taste!

Now Sunday…Sunday – we had a real adventure.

This past Christmas, Woody and I gave each other one of these – a Watermaster Raft by Big Sky Inflatables.  The idea being that we would be able to access a lot more water for fly fishing on our own without hiring a (very $$$$) guide.  Woody has been dreaming of one of these for years…and they finally arrived in February and until yesterday…we hadn’t had the chance to get them out and take them for a spin.

Need I remind you that we live in LA county…and open water (not including the ocean) is a bit hard to come by.  We researched and found this tiny lake just outside of Wrightwood, on the eastern side of the San Gabriel Mountains.  They stock it with trout and there are no motorized vessels allowed.  However…I would classify it as a large pond…lake is stretching it a bit.

This was the first time to set up the rafts….

Just as advertised, very easy…unfold, get out the foot pump, attach it and in a few minutes, half the raft is inflated.

There are two bladders, so if one fails…the whole thing won’t sink.

There is a foot strap so you can pick you feet up.

Everything is very light weight and when the whole thing is packed up, it’s fits in its own dry bag and only weighs 38 lbs.

The raft itself only weighs about 23 lbs., so once it is inflated and ready to go, it is very easy to launch.

 Getting situated…the seat needed some adjustment.

It comes with flippers as well…and was very maneuverable both with the oars and the flippers.

Very easy to paddle…and on a flat pond with little wind and no current…almost a bit too maneuverable….which bodes well for moving water.

Despite what the pictures might portray, we were not the only ones at the lake…there were easily 15 people already fishing from the shore when we arrived and probably closer to 35 people by the time we left…including a lot of children and families.  Also…this lake was stuffed with goldfish…big goldfish, and goldfish that hung out in the shallows only to be taunted by boys and girls under the age of 7 who tried repeatedly to catch them using anything they could other than a rod and reel.

When we were done, we just hauled the boats out onto the grass, removed the accessories and deflated the bladders and let them dry a bit before folding them up and packing it all in.

We took the long and scenic route home on the 2 or the Angeles Crest Highway.  It was Woody’s first time driving through and the first time I had seen it since the Station Fire swept through the San Gabriel mountains  in late August of 2009.  Click here for an aerial infra-red shot.  Great photos and a map can be found here

(seen from the 10 and the 110 interchange.  The smoke actually created its own weather systems!)

It was amazing to be driving and looking in almost any direction and realizing that everything in view burned.  All of it.  And also amazing to see how it changed the landscape as well.  It is a very different forest now and will be for a long time!

We stopped for some groceries and then headed for an afternoon snack and beer at this place.  This is our favorite pizza…E-V-A-H!

 The Avocado Festival…sounds weird…but it is scrumptious!  The beer…also tasted very good!

Then we headed home and hung out with Cleo…since she felt a little ignored by not being invited on the adventure!

 How was your weekend?  What did you do?

Weekend in Mammoth (aka ruinniversary)

5 (FIVE!) years ago on July 22nd…Woody and I tied the knot, got hitched, entered wedded bliss…(read we had a really fun weekend with lots of friends and family…and enjoyed a great party…with a little dose of commitment thrown in!).

To celebrate, we took a day off of work and drove up to Mammoth for the weekend.  We brought our canine addition to our family along with us…which seemed like a great idea.  Cleo is well-trained and enjoys her kennel.  We know she travels well in the car, and planned for one day when we might leave her in the hotel room in her kennel and then the other day we would take her hiking with us.  Ha!

That’s what we thought…turns out, she REALLY thinks she’s part of Team Fischer and couldn’t fathom why we would leave the hotel room without her.  I don’t blame her…we like her a lot, she likes us a lot and we were ALL on vacation.  To prove her unhappiness with our decision to leave her (even just for 30-40 minutes to grab a beer after we arrived), she used her most pathetic whine and sad whimper to convince us that she deserved to come along with us regardless of the activity or the dog-appropriateness.  This wasn’t just a little whimper, or a small whine that quieted as she understood the departure of her two favorite people…it was lasting and a sorrowful attempt at guilting us into returning.  Which we did.  Did someone mention having us wrapped around her little claw…?  So we deemed this anniversary the ruinniversary!  Don’t take this the wrong way…nothing was ruined…except for our PLANS.  But we love her and what could we do…we were a threesome for the weekend.

Here’s to our adventures…as a threesome and to another five years and then some!!!!!

The drive up had amazing views…except we couldn’t see them with all the haze!

Every road trip requires the requisite energy drink…why…?  ‘Cause we’re sitting still for long periods of time and need energy…obviously!  Woody always opts for some strange weird brand and odd flavor…I always ask to sample…and the outcome is always…gross.  I stick with the original…

Woody suggested we stop her to get some snacks and ‘energy bars’ from this bakery.  They were just about closing…but we managed to find one energy bar and a loaf of some delicious ‘Honey Squaw Bread”.  We saved the energy bar for the next day and snacked on the sweet wheaty bread during our 40 minutes of the drive.

We caught the local fly shop before they closed – so we purchased our annual California resident fishing licenses and dug for some local knowledge and hints as to where the fishing might be good.  (Remember this is prior to learning about Cleo and her co-dependency, when we thought we’d still be able to get in one day of serious fishing.)

We stayed at the Sierra Nevada Lodge…a re-vamped old historic throwback lodge with some kind of a rat pack history…Sinatra, et. al. were always playing over the speakers in the lobby, restaurant and bar.

And then…it happened.  The whining…the sadness, the guilt.  We grabbed a beer, sucked it down and headed quickly back to the room out of fear that we would be booted from the hotel before we’d even had a chance to sit down!  She was a little angel when we were in the room with her…at this point we still thought we might be able to fish the next day in Devil’s Postpile.  We packed up the car, got ready to leave, put the do not distrub sign on the door, lest ye maid be surprised to find a dog in the hotel room, and headed out.  Silently standing by the door for 5 minutes to test the volume and scale of sorrow resounding from our Cloodle and hoping for a bit of silence as proof she would be fine…ahhhh…but none came.  Deflated, we unpacked the car, moped a bit and watched some Tour de France and tried to rework our plans.

You might ask why we couldn’t take Cleo with us.  1) Dogs are allowed into Devil’s Postpile, but a shuttle into the monument is required and for insurance reasons all dogs are required to be muzzled on the shuttle.  We’ve never put a muzzle on Cleo and wasn’t sure how she would respond.  2)  We’ve never taken Cleo with us fishing.  She doesn’t respond well to hanging out and staring at a river very well…she’s more of a constant motion kind of dog who thinks you are her personal escort to see the world.  3) We weren’t sure about the availability of water and how hot it would be or how much shade would be available and we are quite sensitive to how quickly heat can affect dogs.  So…we took her with us, purchased a muzzle, shuttle tickets and hoped for the best.  Muzzle was okay…shuttle ride interesting and the number of people was outrageous…sort of the Disneyland National Monument experience….lines and all.

The kicker is that we absolutely and completely forgot about bringing her electronic collar…so she was on leash at all times…I actually ended up with a sunburn on the top of my hand from holding it out in front of me grabbing the leash…not used to hiking with my hands out in front of me.

I had never seen the Eastern Sierras before and found the landscape enticing.  Somehow the bald patches of granite make it seem like you could just run right up there, almost lacking in mystery.

Despite how peaceful and serene this looks…on the far side of the willows is a highway of a trail with busloads of tourists walking the half mile back and forth to the postpile and back.  We wet a line, but weren’t sure if the lack of action was because the river and the meadow area were overfished, or if the fishies weren’t interested in the flies…we were the only fly fishermen we saw…but no lack of bait fishermen and spinning rods, including an entire eagle scout troop trying to poach our part of the creek.

While Woody fished, Cleo and I waited on the bank…she wasn’t a fan…it was almost like being left in the hotel room.

We hiked a few miles to rainbow falls and up around to meet up with shuttle again and return to the the resort.  After showers and some relaxation time, we headed out to dinner…afraid the whole time that Cleo was making us look like neglectful parents.  Luckily, Roberto’s was right across the street!  

The next morning we found Cleo’s favorite weekend activity.  Staring down chipmunks.  The  crevices in the rocks just outside our screen door housed an entire family of small chipmunk’s.  They would poke their head’s out and chirp a bit, probably sounding an alarm to others in the are that serious spotted dog was staring them down, held back only by wrought iron bars.  She stood like this for hours!

  

We headed up to the resort again on Saturday and bought tickets to take the gondola up to the summit and enjoy some lunch, a little hiking and the views.  Dogs Allowed!

She wasn’t entirely sure what to think about the Gondola ride.

The Minaret range is beautiful and sharp!

Cleo enjoyed the snow…she hasn’t seen any in a long time!

Looking down into the Owen’s River Valley and the town of Mammoth.

I don’t think Cleo knew what to do about the elevation.  She ran around like she was down at sea level and seemed confused as to why she was panting as it wasn’t hot up there.

These markers are scattered around…placed by the Department of the Interior, many of them are seismic sensors.

Since we still had much of the afternoon available.  We decided to do some scenic driving and headed towards June Lake.  It was so beautiful and a lot clearer than the day we drove in.  They were having what they referred to as a heat wave and I referred to as completely pleasant and so the runoff was immense.

Next we headed toward Mono Lake – which I had no idea was so close to Mammoth.

Out in the middle is the resurgent dome or the Paoha Island which may have erupted as recently as 350 years ago!  The Sierras are still a very active volcanic area.

There were giant boulder size pieces of obsidian in front of the visitors center.

The lake has an interesting and controversial history.  In an effort to supply more water to the LA basin in 1941, streams feeding Mono lake were diverted and the lake volume was halved while the salinity tripled as run off continued to bring in dissolved salts that remained in the lake increasing the pH, as the lake sits in a basin with no outlet to the ocean.  The ecosystem began to collapse and conservation efforts beginning in the 1970’s brought about legislation to regulate the diversions and work to increase the water level.

Due to the mineral and salt content in the lake, limestone tufas appear around the lake edges and create an intriguing landscape!

Driving back towards Pasadena the next day, we were treated to clear views of Mount Whitney, elevation 14,505 feet, the highest point in the contiguous United States.  It is the peak on the right side of the photo set back just a bit.  Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado is only slightly lower at 14, 440 feet tall.  Beautiful.  Summiting Mt. Whitney might have to get added to my bucket list.

We were back home by dinner and made something delicious for dinner…although I can’t remember what!

Easy like Sunday morning…+ fishing & brunch

Our Sunday started out with two alarms, an extra early walk and breakfast for Cleo, a loading of the car…and then off we went.  We were headed for some local fly-fishing…and not in the LA river this time.  We brought our bikes along since there was a paved access road that reached over 6 miles up the canyon.  The picture below is deceiving…it was freezing at 7 am at the trailhead – the day later topped out in the high 90’s.

We fished the West Fork of the San Gabriel River.  Not quite as remote and pristine as I had hoped…as demonstrated by the ‘fishing platform’ shown below.  However, we did catch fish…so the creek is healthy enough to sustain fish…a good sign.

I was lucky…I dropped a caddis fly on the water…and I had a bite.  More than a bite actually…I had a fish!  A pretty small rainbow, and my first fish caught in California waters.

The bikes were perfect…we traveled approximately 5 miles in…and stopped along the way wherever it looked like the fishing might be worthwhile and the tree limbs and branches would be forgiving of our casts.

Woody managed a catch just as we were about to call it and start heading back down to the cars.  Much bigger than my fish and caught while hanging out at the top of a run where the water is cooler and oxygenated.

On the ride down, the temperature was clearly rising and we were ready for some brunch.  We stopped here, and enjoyed iced coffee and interesting waffles, eggs, french toast and wraps!

Best of all, the day was still young…finished with brunch by 12:30…there was plenty of time to go home, take naps, play Super Mario Galaxy 2, wrestle the dog, get some work done and make dinner.

But before dinner…it was cocktail time…we made frozen margaritas and guacamole.  C’est parfait!